7.4/10
8,853
80 user 41 critic

Tender Mercies (1983)

A broken-down, middle-aged country singer gets a new wife, reaches out to his long-lost daughter, and tries to put his troubled life back together.

Director:

Bruce Beresford

Writer:

Horton Foote
Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Duvall ... Mac Sledge
Tess Harper ... Rosa Lee
Betty Buckley ... Dixie
Wilford Brimley ... Harry
Ellen Barkin ... Sue Anne
Allan Hubbard ... Sonny
Lenny von Dohlen ... Robert (as Lenny Von Dohlen)
Paul Gleason ... Reporter
Michael Crabtree ... Lewis Menefee
Norman Bennett ... Reverend Hotchkiss
Andrew Scott Hollon Andrew Scott Hollon ... Larue
Rick Murray Rick Murray ... Jake - Slater Mill Boys Member
Stephen Funchess Stephen Funchess ... Bertie - Slater Mill Boys Member
Glen Fleming Glen Fleming ... Steve - Slater Mill Boys Member
James Aaron James Aaron ... Henry - Slater Mill Boys Member
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Storyline

Alchoholic former country singer Mac Sledge makes friends with a young widow and her son. The friendship enables him to find inspiration to resume his career. Written by Stefan Halldorsson <ms@vortex.is>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From Bruce Beresford, the acclaimed director of "Breaker Morant." Written by Horton Foote, screenwriter of "To Kill A Mockingbird." See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 June 1983 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Tender Mercies See more »

Filming Locations:

Arlington, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,977, 6 March 1983

Gross USA:

$8,443,124

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,443,124
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First American movie directed by Australian Director Bruce Beresford and the same for his regular Editor, William M. Anderson. See more »

Goofs

In the final scenes, Sonny is shown with empty farmland behind him, then after a cut to a wider shot, suddenly the gas station and motel are behind him. See more »

Quotes

Mac Sledge: [to Rosa Lee] I don't know why I wandered out to this part of Texas drunk, and you took me in and pitied me and helped me to straighten out, marry me. Why? Why did that happen? Is there a reason that happened? And Sonny's daddy died in the war, my daughter killed in an automobile accident. Why? See, I don't trust happiness. I never did, I never will.
See more »


Soundtracks

If You'll Hold the Ladder (I'll Climb to the Top)
Written by Buzz Rabin & Sara Busby (as Sara B.)
Sung by Robert Duvall
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magic
6 March 1999 | by JP-54See all my reviews

This movie demonstrates what happens when the rare, magical perfect combination clicks together. Duvall, Beresford and Foote blended their talents marvelously and managed to fool the critics by producing a film that is absolutely one of the best ever. Its draw at the box office and on video may have surprised the critics, but is understood by those who place a high value on well-written and well-acted drama. I have nearly worn out my VHS copy from multiple viewings but I have never worn out the experience. The film is uplifting because it is all about unhoped hope finding fulfillment.

The movie combines tragedy and pathos with love, warmth and redemption in a manner that rarely occurs in a Hollywood production. To top it off, it does it so that there is not a phoney or contrived moment in the picture. Excellent and somewhat surprising supporting performances came from newcomer Tess Harper (discovered for this film by Duvall and Beresford) Ellen Barkin and Betty Buckley. Brimley (impossible to dislike in any role) is perfect as Buckley's manager.

One of the best scenes in the movie occurs when the young band drops over to "just say howdy" to the ex-singer. Harper is guarded and protective at first, but the pure hearts and openly embarrassed intent of the young men quickly win her and the viewer over. It is a touching and beautiful scene. It reminds you that there is still decency and humility among American youth (maybe we should all visit east Texas once in a while, although you can easily find it in most parts of rural USA).

No action flik this. The best word I know to describe Tender Mercies is "heartwarming." If you have not yet watched it, by all means do yourself a favor: beg, borrow, rent or steal a copy without delay. You'll never think of Duvall or Texas or country music the same again.


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